A Profile of the United States Toy Industry: Serious Fun, Third Edition


The toy industry is one of the most consistently misunderstood sectors of American business, comprising a wide range of businesses under one banner—entertainment, commodities, fashion, and licensing—that each behave differently. Unlike other industries, more than 40 percent of products are new every year, and success often depends on the whims of a child.

Currently about $22 billion per year at wholesale for traditional toys, the United States toy industry has remained relatively constant since the 1990s, with a short-term boom in 2020 and 2021 in response to a global pandemic.

This edition has been updated to reflect these and other dynamic changes in recent years, including the impacts of shifts in marketing, technology, consumption, and retailing. It offers an introduction to the structure, practices, and market forces that impact the toy industry, including a short history, a description of the current market landscape, product trends, emerging opportunities and threats and expectations for the future.

The primary focus is the U.S. toy industry, but one cannot ignore the global scope of the business, particularly with respect to manufacturing and opportunities for growth in emerging markets. It is intended to provide a foundation for understanding the diverse and dynamic nature of the toy industry and many things that make it unique and to introduce this fast-paced, always changing and fiercely competitive business where success is often more an art than a science.

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About the Author(s)

Christopher Byrne

Christopher Byrne, a 35-year-plus veteran of the toy industry, held major marketing and creative positions in the early part of his career. Since 1988, he has run Byrne Communications, Inc., which consults to toy and entertainment companies worldwide

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Pub Date

December 5, 2023





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